Brisbane Roar manager Mike Mulvey has praised his side’s fighting spirit despite surrendering a share of the points in injury time against Adelaide United to succumb 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Roar battled valiantly in the second stanza after being reduced to ten men just prior to half-time when Diogo Ferreira received his second booking for a lunging challenge on Tarek Elrich.
The Reds took a one goal advantage in to the break courtesy of Jeronimo, who took two bites of the cherry to convert from the penalty spot on 20 minutes.
Besart Berisha levelled terms off the bench with ten minutes remaining, before young defender Jordan Elsey headed home the decisive goal late in time added on.
Despite the result, Mulvey said he was proud of the comeback his players mounted in the second half to overcome the numerical disadvantage.
“The belief of this club is that we play to win every game and I think the courage my players showed in the second half was absolutely magnificent,” Mulvey said post-game.
The Roar manager wouldn’t be drawn on the dismissal of Ferreira or the penalty decision against goalkeeper Michael Theo in the first half, and instead focused on the second half fight-back.
“We responded magnificently in the second half and, as I say, I couldn’t be prouder of them than I am feeling,” Mulvey further explained.
“I’m absolutely gutted that we’ve lost the game, particularly for the fans, who were awesome tonight,” he continued.
“They made a lot of noise and you wouldn’t hear a louder roar than when we equalised and that’s what we’re about, so we want to please them.
“They appreciated what we did in the second half and they feel bad, as we do, about the result, but we’ll roll our sleeves up, back to work on Monday morning and regroup and get ready for Perth.”
With Ivan Franjic ruled out on the morning of the match with injury, and with fellow defenders James Donachie and Corey Brown unavailable due Australian Under 22 commitments, Mulvey explained the circumstances that led to Elsey’s match-winning goal.
“We adjusted our set-up a little bit. We brought Shane (Stefanutto) off because understandably he’s been out for quite a while, he’s come back from a pretty difficult injury.
“Matty (McKay) brought us some great energy on the left hand side there, and he got forward as wanted him to do.
“The match-up in the final minute with the goal, that can happen at anytime in the world; but you know what, it was some cross and it was some header and Michael (Theo) did extremely well to even get a fingertip to it,” he concluded.